Barraclough, a retired classical actor who specialised in playing the back end of pantomime horses, was taking his adoptive son, discredited former spirit medium Tarquin Bellows, on tour of the great scone shops of Europe and had stopped off in Piddlehinton to purchase a Milky Way chocolate bar to tide them over until lunch time when he spotted the creature out of the corner of his eye.
“I just couldn’t believe it! I mean, one reads about these things in popular literature and indeed the fine books published by the Centre for Fortean Zoology, whose website is http://www.cfz.org.uk/ , but you don’t expect to actually get the chance to see and photograph one in the flesh!
“The only experience I’ve had that tops this is when I was the back end of Dobbin The Bold in the 1982 production of Cinderella at the Skinning Grove Empire when I got to act with both the legendary Christopher Biggins and the late Jim Davidson who had stood in at the last minute for Charles Hawtrey who was off doing something involving brass bedsteds and Simon Sharma at the time. I received a standing ovation at the end of that run as well, actually, so I guess that knocks the winged cat into 3rd place, now I think of it. It takes a lot of effort to accurately portray the back end of a pantomime horse and it is nice to get some recognition sometimes.”
Tarquin Bellows picked up the story of the sighting:
“We had just been thrown out of the village shop after Father (adoptive) had flown into a fit of rage because they didn’t have any Milky Ways. They had offered him a Chomp bar instead but this had only angered him more as he thinks Cadbury’s is a girly make of chocolate that dries his mouth and he enquired as to whether the shop assistant knew who he was. As the shop assistant was only 16 they did not and that is when Father (adoptive) got really mad and started proclaiming at the top of his voice to all and sundry that he had nearly been in Rentaghost once and about kids today being unaware of the fact that they were born.
“When Father was outside his loud rantings were still continuing and they scared a cat down from a tree on the village green. I noticed there was something odd about this cat and so did Father who thankfully calmed down almost instantly and got out his camera. Neither of us could believe our eyes: it was a winged cat.”
According to both Barraclough and Bellows the cat didn’t actually do much and went to sleep in a flower bed, possibly dreaming of chasing a ball of wool or jumping in and out of a cardboard box.